Thousands of cheering fans turned a section of downtown Los Angeles into a sea of red, white and blue Tuesday in celebrating the US victory in the Women’s World Cup. Waving flags and chanting “U-S-A, U-S-A,” spectators began arriving at 5 a.m. outside Staples Center arena to get a prime position at the front of the stage to cheer their beloved football heroes after their record third World Cup title and first in 16 years. “Every day we call ourselves champions and it never gets old,” Carli Lloyd, voted the Golden Ball as player of the tournament, told the crowd. Lloyd scored three times as the United States roared to a four-goal lead in the first 16 minutes en route to a 5-2 demolition of Japan in Sunday’s final in Vancouver. “I know 1999 was a huge turning point for women’s soccer,” Lloyd said. “We have just crushed history. There is no greater time to win the World Cup.” Two […]

A 108th-minute penalty kick by Liverpool FC player Fara Williams gave England their first ever win over top ranked Germany and a third place finish at the Women’s World Cup on Saturday. The 1-0 victory after 120 minutes of gritty battle at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium gave the sixth-ranked ‘Lionesses’ their first win over the European champions on their 21st attempt. It also helped bury the heartache of the injury time own-goal by defender Laura Bassett which had ended their title bid during a 2-1 semi-final loss to defending champions Japan. “It feels a lot better to be sitting here after that than it did the other day,” said England coach Mark Sampson. “To bounce back from what was a real, real blow for us, it’s an incredible result for the team. “We knew the challenge we faced today from a world class Germany team. “I’m just incredibly proud of all the players and staff, to achieve a third place finish, […]

Three US players — Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe and Julie Johnston — were named on Thursday among eight short-listed for the Golden Ball Award given to the best player at the Women’s World Cup. The tournament concludes on Sunday with holders Japan playing the United States in Vancouver in a rematch of the 2011 final. Japan have two candidates for the award — captain Aya Miyama and defender Saori Ariyoshi —  FIFA announced on Thursday. Germany forward Celia Sasic is also among the contenders along with England defender Lucy Bronze. Former two-time winners Germany take on England in the play-off for third place in Edmonton on Saturday. France’s Amandine Henry has also made the short-list, despite her team being eliminated in the quarter-finals by Germany on penalties. Midfielder Henry scored a superb goal against Mexico. Lloyd helped lift the United States past Germany in the semi-final with a penalty and a decisive cross for a 2-0 win. Sasic missed a […]

England and Germany wipe away the tears as they play for pride and third place at the Women’s World Cup in Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday. It was not the final game either had dreamt of but after a month of gruelling football and an emotional rollercoaster ride to the semi-finals both sides are determined to finish on a high. A 92nd-minute own-goal from Notts County defender Laura Bassett ended England’s fairytale run to their first semi-finals with a 2-1 loss to defending champions Japan. It brought back memories of Italia ’90 when Paul Gascoigne cried his way into English hearts in their last semi-final in the men’s tournament, then losing on penalties to West Germany. That time England finished fourth, but this time the women’s team are determined to go home with a medal. “I think we can hold our heads high and we have to pick ourselves up to go and play against Germany,” England captain Steph Houghton […]

A late own-goal by England defender Laura Bassett put defending champions Japan into the final of the Women’s World Cup on Wednesday with a 2-1 win. Japan next play the two-time winners United States in the final at Vancouver next Sunday after the Americans beat Germany 2-0 in a Tuesday semi-final at Montreal. Japan and England looked to be heading for extra time deadlocked at 1-1 after captain Aya Miyama scored a penalty on 33 minutes at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium only for Fara Williams to level for England five minutes before the break, also from a penalty kick. But two minutes into injury time, Bassett sent the ball into her own net to end her team’s dream run to their first World Cup semi-final. Bassett was in tears after the final whistle and had to be consoled by England coach Mark Sampson as she walked off the field, the Lionesses stunned, shocked and crying at the heartbreaking final turn. “It’s […]

Champions Japan face a real threat from England as the Asian giants look to keep their Women’s World Cup title defence on track in Wednesday’s semi-final in Edmonton. Japan’s ‘Nadeshiko’ are the only unbeaten team left after opening their campaign with a 1-0 win over Switzerland three weeks ago in the sunshine of Vancouver’s west coast. England by contrast started their quest for a maiden title with a 1-0 loss to France in windy and wet conditions on the east in Moncton. But England’s ‘Lionesses’ have been gaining momentum, beating Mexico, Colombia, 1995 champions Norway and hosts Canada all by 2-1 scorelines, to reach their first semi-finals. Japan overran Australia 1-0 in the quarter-finals and have won all their games by a one-goal margin with the impressive depth of their team demonstrated by their seven goals having come from different players. The ‘Nadeshiko’ defence is also solid — they have conceded just two goals in five matches. But England’s front […]

Germany and the United States clash in Montreal on Tuesday for the first final berth of the Women’s World Cup with champions Japan and England playing their semi-final in Edmonton on Wednesday. As the tournament enters the final straight the world order remains unchanged with the only absence being third-ranked France who came up against top-ranked Germany in the quarter-finals, losing 5-4 on penalties after the tie ended 1-1 after extra time. Holders Japan are ranked fourth and take on England, two places below them, while Sweden, in fifth, also fell by the wayside to Germany 4-1 in the last 16. Australia, the lowest ranked team in the quarter-finals at tenth, were beaten 1-0 by Japan. Germany and the United States, ranked second behind the European champions, have split four of the six titles the tournament has had to offer since the inaugural edition in China 1991. Both will be bidding to stay in the running for a record third […]

Coach Alen Stajcic admitted his young Matildas need to mature if they are to challenge for the big titles after exiting the Women’s World Cup with a 1-0 loss to Japan. A late goal from substitute Mana Iwabuchi put the defending champions through to a meeting in Edmonton next Wednesday with England, who beat hosts Canada 2-1 in Vancouver. “There’s not much you can say after a match like that, it’s too soon,” said a disappointed Stajcic. “All you can do is put your arm around their shoulder, most of them are young players, it’s a heartbreaking experience for all of us.” The former Sydney FC W-League coach stepped in after his predecessor Hesterine de Reus was sacked in April 2014 following a player revolt. The 41-year-old guided Australia to the Asian Cup final just a month later, where they lost 1-0 to Japan. But he admitted the gulf between his 10th-ranked side and fourth-ranked Japan on the pitch at […]

England ended host Canada’s dream at the Women’s World Cup 2-1 on Saturday to advance to their first semi-finals at the tournament where they meet defending champions Japan, 1-0 winners over Australia. Early goals from Jodie Taylor and Lucy Bronze dampened the cheers of the capacity 54,027 crowd in BC Place Stadium and kept England on track after losing their opening game of the tournament against France. England follow on from their first win in a World Cup knockout game against Norway in the last 16. “They’re history makers again, only the third ever English team to get to a semi-final, we join that ’66 and ’90 club,” said coach Mark Sampson referring to the England men’s team. “The dream’s over, it’s not how we imagined it to end,” said Canadian counterpart John Herdman. “We hadn’t written the script to be 2-0 down that early. Gutted, gutted for all of Canada. “They (England) were hard to break down. They went […]